Attached a copy of the lobby pack that supports the Queen’s speech. Here are some…
- Quarantine Portal Now Open
The portal where passengers arriving in the UK that need to book accommodation and book testing. Here is a link to the portal itself with all the lists to separate booking and booking management sites
Here is a link to the Quarantine Hotel Booking Site itself
And here is the link to the booking site for the two tests (this is only for people not staying in a quarantine hotel as the tests are included in the hotel package)
- Social Impacts of Coronavirus
ONS’s weekly survey of public perceptions of coronavirus seems to be starting to reflect the roll-out of the vaccine with the proportion of adults who felt that it will take more than a year for life to return to normal felling slightly this week (down from 29% to 27%). There was also a corresponding increase in the number of people who feel life will return to normal with six months ( from 17% to 21% this week) but it should be noted that the number of people who are “pessimistic” still outnumber those that are “optimistic”.
- CMA Threatens Last Minuste.com With Court Action
The CMA has publicly warned Lastminute.com that it will take them to court if the company does not refund £1 million to 2,600 customers who’s holidays were cancelled due to coronavirus. The CMA had previous reach an agreement with LastMinute.com that all customers would be refunded by 30 January and ongoing complains that the company was still now repaying all customers entitled to a refund within 14 days of their package holiday being cancelled.
This warning highlights the CMAs’ increasingly tough stance on companies selling package holidays and will increase public expectation that all tourism businesses will provide a full refund on bookings that are impacted by coronavirus. As such, with people starting to book for summer, it emphasises the need for businesses to have customer focused refund policies that are clearly communicated to customers before they book.
- New £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund
The Government has announced a new £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund to help small businesses adjust to new customs procedures, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU. This fund offers up to £2,000 for business with up to 500 employees, and no more than £100 million annual turnover who trade with the EU.
The eligibility criteria are that the business must:
- be established in the UK
- have been established in the UK for at least 12 months before submitting the application, or currently hold Authorised Economic Operator status
- not have previously failed to meet its tax or customs obligations
- have no more than 500 employees
- have no more than £100 million turnover
- import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU, or moves goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Businesses can use the grant for training on:
- how to complete customs declarations
- how to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems
- specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin
- professional advice so the business can meet its customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements.
Applications for the fund are not yet open but when they are they will be on this link
- £17.5m for Events Sector in Scotland
The Scottish Government has announced the provision of another £17.5m businesses in the events sector including freelance workers. Of that, £8.5 million will go towards the events sector – distributed through the Pivotal Event Businesses Fund and the Events Industry Support Fund 2 as well as targeted support. The remaining £9 million will be distributed as a top-up to the Creative Freelancers Hardship Fund bringing the total value of support for creative freelancers to £17 million.
- R Number and Growth Rate
As ever on a Friday, here are this week’s R Number and Growth Rate – which are, respectively, 0.7 to 0.9 and -5% to -2%. These figures are marginally better than last week when they were 0.7 to 1.0 and -5% to -2% but notable for the fact that this is the first time that the R Number range has been below 1 since 31st July 2020
So some good news to end the week.